Horoscopes | Week of September 13-19, 2004

ARIES (March 21-April 19): There's what you want to do, and then there's what you know you have to do, which, if you don't do, you'll feel markedly guilty due to the sense of shirked responsibility. You are in a good position when these two sets of deeds coincide or overlap, as when, for instance, the necessity of a healthful exercise regimen becomes so ingrained a part of your stress-relieving habits that you are happy to put in the work and ill at ease when you don't. I'm hoping that, once I tell you how advantageous this week's astro-climate is for you in terms of sensible application of utilitarian might toward corporeal obligation, you'll take the bait and swallow any knee-jerk rebelliousness and obediently devote your best efforts to fulfilling duty. Put care toward your physical health, your pressing job tasks, your service to fellow humanity, and your commitment to tomorrow's excellence through today's hard work. I'll bet if you can keep your desire for total no-strings-attached freedom at bay and accept the immediate (and temporary) challenge, you'll soon discover that, deeply, you really do want to do what you know you have to do.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Being outwardly loving and productively creative are not just noble goals to include on hypothetical (or even literal) to-do lists, along with taking those bags of old clothes to Goodwill and eating better. No, it's time to build them into the fundamental moral fabric of how you define yourself… central tenets, not peripheral afterthoughts. This week's New-Moon-concentrated batch of planets in the fifth house signals a invigorating attitude toward fertile precision—that is, an encouragement to become methodical with investing your energy into self-gratifying projects, ranked according to their highest promise for soon-to-come jubilance. Saturn helps out by providing the wherewithal to force wavering unspokens into articulate calls-to-realization, so speak up and write down. And, incidentally, 'self-gratifying' projects include not only artistic creations, home beautification rituals and long-postponed excursions to holy or unholy pilgrimage sites… they also include connections with people whom you've meant to contact and/or adore more but have recently neglected.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Whatever's going/gone on (or not going/gone on) in your outside-world life should provide enough liberating movement (or surprisingly liberating non-movement) for you to think about and focus inward on the qualities of life at home. To maximize satisfaction, work out a plan to conquer the small nagging reasons why relaxing isn't as relaxing as it could be. If you convert this esoteric motivation into a list of concrete actions, it will initiate a flip in electrical charge from 'transmission' to 'reception' and start the energy pouring in to feed your hearth-flame. Be as anally-retentive as you dream you could be, and spend the month on tiny neurotic projects that deliver a sense of control over your intimate surroundings—for while control in a general sense is largely an illusion, taking control specifically in your private space is about as real as it can get. Start now, so by the time the chill of autumn starts to set in, you'll be quite pleased to hunker down into the nest you've worked hard to upgrade… where you can recharge your batteries for future public endeavors.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): We call on you to speak. We summon you to stand on local street corners or make a rash of phone solicitations and collect opinions. We plead with you to cut and paste the phrases you most favor and carefully collage them into catchy summary form, with no need to submit your fidelity to their absolute truth. We dare you to hold firmly centered while courting a relative bombardment of exposures and influences, a radical venture outward (in contrast to the unceremonious inward nestling) to prove you can interact and chew the fat without being psychically swayed or knocked down by too much stimulus. We declare that refusal to participate in insistent extroversion, whether instinctive or forced, goes against all fortune promised by the planets. We will not accept shyness or social sensitivity as a premise for excusing you from the assignment. And, after the next few weeks have passed, we will cease to acknowledge your complaints regarding lack of cogent opportunities, if you haven't bothered to tell anyone what you're looking for or absorbed their testimonies.


LEO (July 23-August 22): When Venus opposes Neptune across your 1st/7th (or self/other) axis as it does now, it must mean your levels of charm are at such an overwhelming level that it threatens to blind you. Watch out for folks who seem too perfect to be real, who try to promise you amazing rewards in exchange for your presence or who will say anything to remain in your favor. These potential mischief-makers are apt to appear in the exact shape of your highest hopes for them, magically shape-shifting as if you've created them solely from ideals. Need I spell out the illusive nature of such delectable mirage? Smile, nod and giggle in appreciation, but don't chase the hologram. Instead, keep all feet on the ground. Channel your attentions toward actual things you can touch and accurately describe, as opposed to thrills that steal your breath but make no sense and won't show up in the photos. Wealth, even in the abstract, must appear as an easily labeled item in the catalog of assets, or the carriers won't insure you for its loss or damage.


VIRGO (August 23-September 22): You wouldn't be a good Virgo, I guess, if you weren't worrying about whether you'd done it right. And by 'it', I refer to taking advantage of the past year's transit of Jupiter through your sign, which I've consistently hailed as good-luck growth and expansion. More than one of you has wondered, aloud to me or quietly to yourselves, if you've planted enough seeds, if you've exploited the opportunities or experienced the happy fortune… and if you haven't, if that means you've squandered your only hope for easy excellence until Jupiter returns to your sign in 2015. I have a few answers for you folks. (1) There's a certain healthiness to striving for 'right', for 'more' and for 'better'… as long as, on the way, you give yourself genuine appreciative credit for having done what you already did, the way you did it, with what you had to work with at the time… and as long as you're ultimately kind to yourself. (2) Good luck doesn't always show up wearing a tag that reads 'Hello, my name is Good Luck.' Sometimes, even, good luck looks like bad luck when you don't have your glasses on or the lighting is weird. Almost always, though, any movement eventually equals good luck if allowed to run its ultimate course. (3) This week's New Moon concentration of five planets in Virgo has enough momentum to cap off the past year with fourteen layers of icing on top and keep you going for several more months, as long as you use it to commit to something ('something! anything! please!') to start working toward, for eventual harvest who-knows-when. It's not a last chance as much as a best chance—there will be others, but you don't want to miss this one.


LIBRA (September 23-October 22): Scan the 'For Sale' ads with wide-open eyes. When the chills make your arm hairs stand on end, it's time to pause at the description of the object—an antique wooden chest. The seller lives a mere block away, and if you hurry over, you will get a stellar deal by following your instinct to bargain a bit. Once home, upon further inspection, the chest's false bottom comes loose to reveal a secret compartment containing cryptic documents and hand-drawn maps. Calligraphied words, scores of years old, make magical sense. Obeying their instructions, you travel to a hidden storefront in a back alley of an undiscovered neighborhood. Inside, the woman proprietor offers you a cup of ambition and a personal narrative detailing a rise to success similar to the one you pursue in your dreams. Blink your eyes, a couple years later, and you own the store. A mysterious figure walks in, hands you a candid photo taken of you as you carried the chest home, and says, 'This is always how we find our most satisfying contribution to the world. Keep dreaming, with wide-open eyes, and pay attention when the hairs stand on end.' Never walk so fast on your hunt for a store to buy that you pass the chest with the map, and never forget to search the secret compartments.


SCORPIO (October 23-November 21): If you take the temperature of the times, you may come to appreciate that, while you can wear whatever you want whenever you want, certain styles of garments will leave you feeling more comfortable and compatible with your surroundings. I would never encourage you to blindly succumb to the trends—my astrology site is hardly intended to spawn a mass of undifferentiated drones, but rather to stimulate each individual's raw selfhood—but some effort made to mirror the customs of your comrades will ease the realization of your highest hopes. One rather effective method for bucking conventionality in support of groundbreaking achievement is to inoculate yourself against the allure of snooze-inducing normalcy by adopting some of its more obvious outer traits. If you dress like the grandmother, Miss Red Riding herself will let you right into her prized domain, suspecting little from your inconspicuous appearance. Once there, I wouldn't necessarily devour her with big bad chops (what a heartless betrayal!)… but her subtle conversion to your benevolently wolven ways is not a stretch, once you've gained her trust by demonstrating affinity for her natural sensibilities.


SAGITTARIUS (November 22-December 21): I will assume that last week worked any glitches of pig-headed factiousness out of your system, so that now you can proceed full steam ahead toward excellence in your field of highest repute. Understanding where the personality-urge to disrupt achievement for pride/truth reasons is important (uncontrollable emotion coupled with psychological experience is the likely source), but (going one step further) knowing how to hail its presence without indulging in its explosions of will is even more crucial. Self-discipline is different than repression when it comes to the seductiveness of unstrategically standing up just to stand up. Welcome the urge into consciousness, then let it go before you act on it. The ladder to the top (where you're destined to go) is a series of small and carefully controlled steps, and if you carry on too dramatically, you'll wiggle the ladder and potentially plunge to an injurious fate. This week is the time to tell yourself, 'I want to get there, and I'm willing to do anything… including mastering this loud mouth of mine and its righteous indignation… to make it.' Anything less is settling for less. And once you ascend, then you can make all the noise you want. But strategy first.


CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Sometimes in life, in order to jolt yourself out of thinking the same old thoughts about the same old things that are still just the way they've always been, you have to calculate an external action to stimulate fresh thought processes. Areas of the brain, when unused, turn stale and hibernate to reserve voltage, hoping for later use. Yet, when driven to discomfort by unfamiliarity, the mind must push itself into new territory, firing away previously unheard-of possibility after possibility… notions that may even require deliberate, painstaking efforts at translation after the fact, so foreign are the precepts entailed to any prior mode of being. The mind works best under such pressure, the thrill of insight necessity enough to power those overtime hours. Use the concentrated earth energy as a base for carefully designing foreign experiences, with the explicit intent of startling yourself into broadening your horizons. It works a lot better than sitting around and hoping that one day a new idea will show up for no reason, float past your stationary observation desk amidst a glut of repetitive old-standbys, and save you.


AQUARIUS (January 20-February 18): Romance is in the air… available in varieties including, but not limited to: love affairs; zealous emotional involvements and/or attachments with a person, thing or idea; powerful, though often short-lived, enthusiasms or obsessions; mysterious heroic qualities or appeals; and fictionalized embellishments… all of which invite a certain imaginative verve to transform the humdrum into something more beautiful, sentimental or otherwise engaging… all of which possess the possibility of temporarily muting the actual truth of who you are, tempting you to prioritize fusion over individuation… so what are you going to do about it? At least be aware of the eventual moment when the true you will reappear, demanding to be recognized, and spoil the illusion—not that such spoilage inevitably leads to dashed sentiments or a crushed heart. Use the romance as an opening toward a wide and deeper future, but not an end in itself. Then, no matter what else happens, the story stays compelling and retains its upbeat message.


PISCES (February 19-March 20): Grab his/her hand, and pull him/her to the bargaining table, a literal sit-down spot where you two can hash out the details of your new and/or improved partnership. The existing contract is up… time to renegotiate on those few or many items that cannot continue under the current terms without starting to inflict more serious hazards on the nature of the relationship. Please differentiate between this call for diplomatic consultation and my past few weeks' words warning of sloppy blame and cascading conflict. This is a moment of fairer perceptivity, clearer articulation and dedication to a higher mode of interaction. Perhaps you're more ready to concede your former complicity in matters… and thus better able to convey your own constructive criticism, without the 'oh, yeah? well, you did x, y and z' one-upsmanship to saddle your remarks with heightened reactiveness. Eke out the requisite protective clauses, give some and take some, then sign at the bottom… and expect both sides to hold up their ends of the bargain or prepare to dissolve the agreement.